UK's first Virgin Hotel construction stopped due to 1000-year-old historic findings beneath

archaeological excavation site in Edinburgh.
Archaeological excavation site in Edinburgh. AOC Archaeology Facebook

A group of archaeologists have discovered 1000-year-old artefacts at the construction site of British businessman Richard Branson's first Virgin Hotel in the UK. As per the experts this discovery which is very important in terms of understanding the origins of an ancient city.

In November 2018, The Scotsman reported about the "painstaking excavation at the Cowgate's India Buildings in Edinburgh," where the archaeology team found some ancient artefacts dating back to the 10th century, specifically about two centuries before David I of Scotland established the town 'Burgh' and even predating the iconic Edinburgh Castle.

The excavation team also found the outline of an old street and 200-year-old tailors, as well as "clay pipes, a pin made of bone and pottery fragments from 700 years back."

Richard Conolly from CgMs Heritage and the manager of the archaeological works told the media that if the team is lucky enough, they will find a "section of the town's medieval defences at the west end of Cowgate."

Six weeks after the first discovery, the archaeologists found "ditches and walls marking the original boundary of the city." Some of these discoveries are expected to date back to the Bronze Age, which started in 3000 BC and ended in 1200 BC, reported Edinburgh News.

A website called AOC Archaeology reported that among all the finds, archaeologists also discovered wall panel, structural timbers, rubbish pits, wells, a human skull, shoes, coins, figurines, jewellery, tools and an early cannonball that is believed to be an evidence of 16th Century siege of the castle.

Edinburgh Evening News further reported that John Lawson, the City Council's archaeologist said that it was one of the most significant excavation project ever conducted in Scotland.

Last week, the chief executive of Virgin Hotels, Raul Leal stated that construction work at the hotel site would finally begin "within weeks" but after the delay due to the archaeological project, they wish to open it sometime in 2021.

He further added that "We're proud to have played a part in work of such national importance. We will look at ways we can inform our guests of the rich history beneath the rooms."

Reports claimed that the council's Culture and Communities Convener, Donald Wilson said that the council is fully committed "to understanding and preserving the story of this great city," and "I would like to thank Virgin Hotels, AOC Archaeology and CGMS" for the joint effort to help the council in this archaeological project.

He also added that the ancient artefacts found so far will help provide new insight into some of the earliest history of Edinburgh.

However, now the Virgin Hotels plan to make the archaeological findings a major promotional point of a stay in the new hotel which will include 225 rooms and create more than 300 jobs.

Related topics : Archaeology